Classical, Avant-garde, East Indian and Balkan metric concepts, big band jazz - Don Ellis brought it all together with his own orchestra; as early as the 1966 Monterey Jazz Festival, Ellis and band were putting the public's expectations to the test.
Over the years Ellis expanded and refined the band's fantastic expressive abilities by, for instance, the integration of a string quartet into the group, or inviting the Bulgarian pianist Milcho Leviev as special guest. In 1973, trumpeter Ellis and orchestra recorded two albums for MPS. This first album is titled "Soaring"; the scintillating music created by 22 musicians, including a 12-piece horn section, three percussionists, and a string quartet provides a shimmering, translucent texture captured in a Hollywood studio at the zenith of the band's abilities.
On the first composition, "Whiplash", Ellis demonstrates how his band could accommodate funk to 7- beat time signature. "Sladka Pitka" is a showcase for insanely complex time signatures, and when it comes to "The Devil Made Me Write This Piece" with it's layering of samba, legato strings, and chromatic lines, the devil is indeed in the details. With "Go Back Home", tenor saxophonist Sam Falzone gifted the band with an instrumental hit, and "Invincible" is characterized by dramatic, lyrical paintings in sound. Ellis allows for some tender moments on "Images Of Maria" and "Nicole", whereas Czech composer Aleksej Fried's "Sidonie" celebrates an exuberant festival of uneven rhythms. No question - on "Soaring", Don Ellis gave the concept of big band jazz a completely new meaning.
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